To be honest, the wedding was not for me. Never in my life did I visualize myself in a wedding dress until I actually had to—when it was decided that we’d have a wedding after getting engaged. The plans started as a small, immediate family gathering, then changed to a small church ceremony, then escalated to a large gathering—because of course, we couldn’t leave anyone out. I was fine with plan A; however, my mother and husband-to-be were not. Soon, I realized that I could not cheat Mom out of a (mostly) traditional wedding for her only daughter; it was her one chance to have the experience. DH likes getting together with family and friends, so he was all for it, too.
Anyway, we got married at the Sheraton Hotel. With its huge atrium, it was an attractive place for our guests to walk into before entering the revamped large meeting room that was set up with a church-like seating arrangement. A few large plants and a candelabra thrown in, and “Voila,” we were good to go. The ushers rolled down the aisle runner and Dad and I stepped onto it and took our walk. A half hour later, I was hitched.
After photos and the traditional dances, I spent much of the reception in the adjacent banquet room being proudly introduced to DH’s many friends. At some point, my friends grabbed me away to spend a few moments with them. DH and I never sat at the “head table,” and never ate beyond a morsel or two. From what I was told, the large variety of our buffet’s heavy hors d’oeuvres, accompanied by an enormous ice sculpture, was delicious. Late in the festivities, I danced a little; I remember doing the Electric Slide.
It was fun.
My existing joy, though, stems from giving Mom the gift of having a wedding, where she paced around nervously, trying to assure that all was going well so that her daughter and new son-in-law could have a joyful and memorable experience. She would lose hours of sleep over the next week as she went through the post-wedding planner withdrawal… you know… when you question everything that should or should not have been done.
I’ve been to many weddings over the years; three of them as a bridesmaid. The first weddings, those of college friends who married very young, were held at churches and the receptions in banquet halls and chain hotels, as mine was. In my eyes, everything was lovely; though in hindsight, I see that they were not on the economic scale of some of the more recent weddings I’ve attended. Just starting their careers and also being the children of average income parents, the bride and groom married within reasonable standards.
Nowadays, DH and I are invited to the weddings of the children of our friends, whose budgets seem beyond that of my college friends. During the planning of a few, I’ve been told of the goings-on and how much things cost. Let’s just say, “I am amazed.” When a friend told me that a florist gave her a $4000 estimate for the flower arrangements that her daughter likes, I gasped. Talkin’ about a boost to the economy!
An article in the Huffington Post on 3/7/13, said the average wedding in 2012 costs $28,427, excluding the honeymoon, according to TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, who surveyed 17,500 brides who hired a professional vendor. On the upper end are weddings in Manhattan, averaging $76,678 and on the lower end, Alaska (they didn’t even bother to specify a city), averaging “$15,504. Couples say they want lots of fun and/or elegance and are focusing on pleasing their guests.
When I told my friend and another friend with us, that I hope to keep a wedding for my daughter under $20,000, or whatever is comparable when she gets married, they laughed. They said they should record me saying it and play it back when the time comes.
To which I responded: “Poor people have weddings; don’t they?”
I was trying to make a point when I said, “poor people.” Actually, I meant people who don’t want to spend $30,000 on a wedding; like people who have a reception at a clubhouse or in the large back yard of someone’s home where the food is prepared by an eager small business caterer. It can be done. I’ve seen my girls watching that show called Four Weddings where not everyone appears to be spending mega bucks.
I may end up eating my words and forking out my retirement dollars for grand weddings for my daughters—I doubt it, but… who knows? Maybe DH and I will be wealthy by then and it won’t matter; but right now, I’m not feelin' it.
In case you’re thinking that I’m anti-wedding, I’m not. A wedding is a (1-day) celebration of marriage, a life changing event that shapes our lives into being more loving and trusting, gaining wisdom as time goes on—hopefully. It is not the marriage. After exchanging the vows, it’s a party; one that is going to be critiqued, complimented, or judged regardless of how much money is spent and of how much effort goes into “pleasing the guests.” Bottom line--$100,000, $50,000, or $3000—it should be one that you can afford.
‘Tis the Season for upcoming weddings! Do you have any emotions or opinions you’d like to share?
Image found at www.kapchur.us
Image found at www.kapchur.us